Berberis repens Lindl.  
Family: Berberidaceae
creeping barberry,  more...
[Mahonia repens (Lindl.) G. Don,  more]
Berberis repens image
Max Licher  
Shrubs , evergreen, 0.02-0.2(-0.6) m. Stems monomorphic, usually without short axillary shoots. Bark of 2d-year stems grayish or purplish brown, glabrous. Bud scales 3-8 mm, deciduous. Spines absent. Leaves (3-)5-7-foliolate; petioles (1-)3-9 cm. Leaflet blades thin and flexible; surfaces abaxially dull, papillose, adaxially dull, rarely glossy, somewhat glaucous; terminal leaflet stalked, blade 3.2-9.5 × 2.3-6 cm, 1.2-2.2(-2.5) times as long as wide; lateral leaflets ovate or elliptic, 1(-3)-veined from base, base rounded to obtuse or truncate, margins plane, toothed, with 6-24 teeth 0.5-3 mm tipped with spines to 0.6-2.8 × 0.1-0.25 mm, apex rounded, rarely obtuse or even broadly acute. Inflorescences racemose, dense, 25-50-flowered, 3-10 cm; bracteoles membranous, apex rounded to obtuse or broadly acute. Anther filaments with distal pair of recurved lateral teeth. Berries blue, glaucous, oblong-ovoid, 6-10 mm, juicy, solid. 2 n = 28. Flowering spring (Apr-Jun). Open forest, shrubland, and grassland; 200-3000 m; Alta., B.C.; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Minn., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.Mex., N.Dak., Oreg., S.Dak., Tex., Utah, Wash., Wyo. Berberis sonnei was described based on plants with relatively narrow, rather shiny leaflets collected by Sonne in Truckee, California. Subsequent collections from this population show the morphology typical of B . repens ; Sonne's collections evidently are an aberrant form of this species. Berberis repens is resistant to infection by Puccinia graminis .

Various Native American tribes used preparations of the roots of Berberis repens to treat stomach troubles, to prevent bloody dysentary, and as a blood purifier; mixed with whiskey, it was used for bladder problems, venereal diseases, general aches, and kidney problems; and preparations made from the entire plant served as a cure-all and as a lotion for scorpion bites (D. E. Moermann 1986).

Plant: Shrubs, stoloniferous, with vertical stems to 15 cm tall Leaves: odd-pinnate, 15-30 cm long, dull above, papillose and paler green below; leaflets (3-)5-7, ovate, subequal, 20-75 mm long; bases rounded or subcordate, often asymmetrical; apices rounded or obtuse, rarely subacute; veins prominent; teeth of leaflet margin 6-10 pairs INFLORESCENCE: racemose, 5-8 cm long, (10-)15-30-flowered; racemes 3-7 per leaf axil; pseudopedicels 5-8(-11) mm long; bracts 1.5 mm long; bracteoles absent Flowers: outer sepals ovate, 2 mm long; median sepals oblong, 3-5 mm long; inner sepals obovate, 6-8 mm long; petals oblong-obovate, 5-7 mm long, the apices deeply incised with two acute lobes; filaments bearing 2 lateral teeth at apex Fruit: FRUITS berries, globose, pruinose, blue, 8-9 mm long, 6-9 mm wide; SEEDS reniform, shiny, reddish-brown, 5-7 mm long Misc: Coniferous forests; 1500-2600 m (5000-8500 ft); Apr-Jun REFERENCES: Laferrière, Joseph E. 2001. Berberidaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 26(1).
Shrub 2 - 20 cm tall, rarely to 0.6 m Leaves: alternate, pinnately compound, stalked, evergreen, with three to seven leaflets. Flowers: borne 25 to 50 in a dense inflorescence 3 - 10 cm long, subtended by mambrane-like bracts with rounded to blunt or pointed tips. The six yellow petal-like sepals fall soon after flowering, each of the six yellow petals has two basal glands, and each filament has a pair of curved lateral teeth. Fruit: a blue to black berry, 6 - 10 mm long, oblong to egg-shaped, juicy, covered with a whitish waxy coating (glaucous). Twigs: grayish to purplish brown in second year, usually lacking short lateral branchlets. Leaflets: stalkless except for terminal leaflet, dull bluish green, becoming purple in winter, 3.2 - 9.5 cm long, 2.3 - 6 cm wide, egg-shaped to elliptic with a rounded tip and rounded to squared base, six to 24 spine-tipped teeth per side, leathery with a warty lower surface.

Similar species: Berberis canadensis, Berberis thunbergii, and Berberis vulgaris have short lateral branchlets, spines, simple leaves, and red berries. Berberis aquifolium is upright with shiny leaves.

Flowering: April

Habitat and ecology: Native to the western United States, this species was found growing in a jack pine area in Porter County, Indiana.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Etymology: Berberis is a Latinized form of the Arabian name for barberry. Repens means creeping.

Author: The Morton Arboretum

Berberis repens image
Max Licher  
Berberis repens image
Max Licher  
Berberis repens image
Max Licher  
Berberis repens image
Max Licher  
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